Hola! Boy, Cuban-American relations are sure getting better. For the first time in more than 50 years a Cuban-based band will perform later today at the White House.  The Cuban ensemble of legendary musicians known as Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club will perform at a White House ceremony and reception celebrating the end of Hispanic Heritage Month as well as the 25th anniversary of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

Buena Vista Social Club members and Cuba’s Grandfathers of Music, on tour in Sydney, Australia in 2005.
Buena Vista Social Club members and Cuba’s Grandfathers of Music, on tour in Sydney, Australia in 2005.

The Buena Vista Social Club, a musical and cultural center located in the Marianao neighborhood in Havana, Cuba, closed in the 1940s. It had largely encouraged Afro-Cuban musical styles and its history (as well as the performers who performed at the Club) is fascinating to say the least.  To find out more please visit the Buena Vista Social Club’s website which can be found here. It’s a great read for sure.  In any event, the Buena Vista Social Club became known the world over nearly five decades after the club was closed after a 1990s recording by Cuban and American musicians put it on the international map.  In fact, an album also entitled Buena Vista Social Club won a Grammy in 1998 and in 1999 a documentary film (also by the same name) was also released.

Promotional movie poster
Promotional movie poster

Although the performance at the White House is part of the group’s farewell tour this performance is historic in so many ways and it is deserving of special attention. Chao!

Ken “K Bo” Biedzynski, Editor

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